Our Top 5 Finnish Design Discoveries

Lapland probably isn’t the first place you’d think of going in order to investigate the Nordic design scene (unless you live in a log cabin and it’s permanently Christmas). But that’s just it – Lapland, more specifically Finnish Lapland, isn’t a tinsel tastic tacky explosion it’s a tasteful, charming and authentic place with a design and interiors scene that extends far beyond baubles and bells. Having been lucky enough to land a trip to the city of Rovaniemi (read more about our Lapland for Grown Ups adventures here) we weren’t quite sure what to expect on the design front. Liz has a long-standing obsession with all things Scandi so hopes were high that their Nordic neighbours would be equally as sharp in the style stakes.

We weren’t disappointed. Having already explored the likes of Finnish giants Marimekko and Iittala we stumbled upon a small concept store in the city called Mainoa which bills itself as a ‘Design shop that offers high quality Finnish craft and design‘. It was here that the real local gems were discovered, we only arrived 20 minutes before closing but left with a bag full of goodies each…

The Finnish design scene is definitely thriving and should certainly be more celebrated. So in a small bid to raise it’s profile we have compiled our top 5 Finnish design discoveries.

 

1. Kauniste

Kauniste means to decorate or to make beautiful – a pretty apt name if you ask us. This independent Helsinki based company works with talented and award winning illustrators and artists to create a paper goods, fabrics and homewares. Lucky for us they have an online store, but incase you want to browse in person you can find a list of UK stockists here.

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From the top: Note book set €12.00, Calendar 2016 Kitchen Towel Mint €15.00, Mökkilä Blue Cushion Cover €24.00

 

2. Mifuko

A certified member of the World Fair Trade Organization Mifuko’s products are all handmade by women’s self help groups in rural Kenya. Combining contemporary Finnish design with traditional Kenyan handicraft techniques to produce colourful baskets, bags, rugs and ornaments.

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Kiondo baskets From €29,00, Ornaments 3pcs €20.00

 

3. Lovi

This family run company based in Northern Finland produce 3D figures from the highest Finnish quality birch plywood. They come flat pack so it’s your job to assemble them but I imagine it’s slightly more enjoyable than our experience with Swedish flat-pack furniture… Take a look at their online shop, there are loads of different ones to choose from – our favourite was the famous Finnish Moomin character, ‘Snufkin’.

Lovi Finnish design Snufkin with Hattifatteners

Snufkin by Lovi €14.50

 

4. Polkkajam

A family company run from a studio in an old dairy on Kimito Island (southwest Finland), talented creatives Kristiina Haapalainen and Sami Vähä-Aho produce playful imagery inspired by their surroundings (which sounds pretty idyllic to us) and then applied across variety of products including stationary, postcards, posters and wrapping paper.

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 Postcards €1.30, Wrapping paper from €4.50

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Posters from €12.00

 

5. Mark Roberts – Photographer

Mark hails from Blighty, but has made Rovanemi, Finland, his adopted home town, as he goes hiking in the Lapland wilderness searching for the perfect shot. We picked up some of his limited edition prints at Mainoa Design Shop, but you can get your paws on them online, via his online store.

Misty Island photograph by Mark Roberts

Photograph of landscape with trees

 Prints from €12.40

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Marimekko: Finland’s Finest

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Myself and Kath are off on a Finnish trip together (more specifically Lapland) – in fact when this post goes live I think we’ll actually be there, hopefully drinking glögi and eating smoked salmon… But as well as gorging ourselves on the local delicacies and hanging out with Rudolph I’m also hoping to learn a little more about the Finnish design scene.

I’m a huge fan of Scandinavian design, there’s a whole section on this site dedicated to my obsession, but I’m not as familiar with the Nordic offering.  However there is one store that immediately springs to mind when thinking about our northerly Nordic neighbours and that’s Marimekko.

Marimekko is a Finnish institution and has been since the 1950’s.  It was the brainchild of Armi Ratia’s (pictured) whose vision of a bold, graphic future for textiles was fulfilled through her collaboration with various young artists and fashion designers. Fast forward 60 years and the company is now internationally successful, and the same ethos and desire to collaborate and create bold and beautiful patterns remains. Many of the original designs are still in production today, and the range includes homeware, clothing and accessories. So if you really wanted you could co-odinate your trousers to your teapot or your socks to your serving dishes…

Lucky for us our Finnish destination, Romeneivi, has a Marimekko store so we’ll be sure to pop in for a nosey. But for all those based in the UK the online store has some fantastic offerings, i’ve shortlisted some of my favourites below…

 

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1. Oiva/Sääpäiväkirja plate, 32.00GBP 2. Round Fokus tray, 62.00GBP 3. Oiva/Siirtolapuutarha plate, 26.00GBP 4. Hattarakukka tray, 62.00GBP 5. Oiva/ Siirtolapuutarha pitcher, 53.00GBP 6. Sukat makkaralla stemware, 32.00GBP 7. Hauki plywood tray, 44.50GBP 8. Oiva/Unikko tea cup, 17.00GBP 9. Hauki oven mitten, 22.00GBP 10. Hauki tea towel, 29.50GBP

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Rowen and Wren: Elegant and Distinctive Homewares

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Rowen and Wren have one of the most beautifully photographed homeware collections of any online shop.  The covetable vintage accessories; the backdrops of deep slate blue paint and whitewashed walls; I would happily move in to their online world if it existed.

As you’d expect from such a carefully crafted visual style, the collection itself is exquisitely tasteful, and it’s one of those shops where you can’t really go wrong if you’re looking for a gift.  Anyone with any sense would be happy to welcome something from Rowan and wren into their home.

Their collections do span a range price-wise, and some items are outside my personal budget, but there are also some really affordable gems, and it’s also a great place to look for well crafted antique-style hardware (think burnished brass, copper and nickel).

Liz has picked some of her favourite bits and pieces below….

Rowen and Wren homewares mason cocktail shaker recipe book

The Mason Shaker Cocktail book £18.

My other half bought me a Mason Shaker for last years Birthday but I fear my bottom of the bottle, back of the cupboard concoctions may not pass muster. I am buying this. If I remember I will let you know how I get on…

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